Pillars of Excellence Ceremony Honors Faculty and Students

Pillars of Excellence Ceremony Honors Faculty and Students

By University Communications
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The 2016 Regents' Professors, University Distinguished Professors and University Distinguished Outreach Faculty will be recognized this afternoon along with the UA's 2017 Distinguished Scholars and several students in the Honors College.

The 10 faculty members and 10 students will have their names added to a plaque on the lower level of the main BookStore in the Student Union Memorial Center, joining more than 130 past honorees.

Regents' Professor is the highest honor a faculty member at an Arizona state university can receive. The title was established in 1987 by the Arizona Board of Regents.

University Distinguished Professors are faculty members who have demonstrated a long-term commitment to undergraduate education. The award was created by then-President Manuel Pacheco in 1995.

The University Distinguished Outreach Faculty title was established in 2003 by then-President Peter Likins to recognize those who have demonstrated excellence in the University's outreach mission.

Distinguished Scholars are midcareer faculty members who are recognized as leading experts in their fields and are contributing to the mission of the UA.

Regents' ProfessorsRonald Breiger

Ronald Breiger, Regents' Professor of Sociology in the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, is one of the authorities on the modeling and analysis of social networks. He has helped to develop network analytic techniques and applied them in areas ranging from culture to the study of terrorism. He was named a fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences and a Fulbright Senior Scholar. He is also a recipient of the Simmel Award of the international Network for Social Network Analysis.Frank Gohlke

Frank Gohlke, Regents' Professor in the Photography Division at the School of Art, is a senior research fellow in the Center for Creative Photography. As a landscape photographer and essayist, Gohkle is a chronicler of the American landscape. He is an artist researcher whose photography subjects range from geology to architectural history. His work has been displayed at the Museum of Modern Art, the Smithsonian Institution, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Amon Carter Museum of American Art, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, among others. Gohlke teaches both undergraduate and graduate courses and is regularly invited to serve as chair or as a member of students' Master of Fine Arts committees.

Renu Malhotra, Regents' Professor in the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, provided proof of planetary migration and its importance. Her work in planetary dynamics has spanned a wide variety of topics, including extrasolar planets and debris disks around nearby stars, the formation and evolution of the Kuiper belt and the asteroid belt, the orbital resonances among the moons of the giant planets, and the meteoritic bombardment history of the planets. In 2015, she was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and to the National Academy of Sciences.

University Distinguished Professors

Elliott Cheu, who is a University Distinguished Professor, associate dean of the College of Science and professor in the Department of Physics, focuses on supersymmetry and physics beyond the Standard Model of particle physics. Through integration of his research and teaching activities, he strives to improve student academic performance to increase retention and graduation rates. Cheu has created and redesigned courses and curriculum to help enhance students' academic performance. He has involved dozens of students in his own scientific studies, with many of them advancing to graduate studies and careers in the physical sciences.

Alan Nighorn, University Distinguished Professor, is a professor and head of the Department of Neuroscience. He teaches foundational undergraduate courses in molecular and cellular neurobiology, neurophysiology, and learning and memory. He engages his students with in-class exercises that revolve around discussion of lecture topics. He also has an open-door policy and tends to individual student needs. His research focuses on molecular interactions that underlie the appropriate development and function of the olfactory system in insects.

University Distinguished Outreach Faculty

Thomas Sheridan, University Distinguished Outreach Faculty, is a professor in the School of Anthropology as well as a research anthropologist in the UA Southwest Center dedicated to biodiversity and the preservation of open spaces. He is regarded for his long-standing investments of sharing his research while engaging communities through teaching and service. In 2000, Sheridan initiated the Hopi History Project, a federally funded formal collaboration between the UA and the Hopi Tribe to study the nation's history.

Cynthia Thomson, University Distinguished Outreach Faculty and professor of public health, directs the Canyon Ranch Center for Prevention and Health Promotion, a center whose mission is to support a healthier Tucson community. She also directs the Arizona Smokers' Helpline, a direct service program for the public to support smoking cessation and chronic disease risk reduction. She has amassed a detailed record of outstanding outreach to improve lifestyle behaviors and cancer survivorship.

Distinguished Scholars

Jennifer McIntosh, Distinguished Scholar and associate professor in the Department of Hydrology and Atmospheric Sciences, has published more than 60 peer-reviewed scientific papers, many of which have been in top-ranked journals like Science and Nature Geoscience. She has developed multiple new graduate and undergraduate courses for her department and has received her department's Excellence at the Student Interface award on three occasions in recognition of her teaching efforts.

Arvinder Sandhu, Distinguished Scholar and associate professor in the Department of Physics, focuses on generating light sources lasting one-quintillionth of a second, and their applications to the study of ultrafast dynamics of electrons, lattice vibrations, and other quasi-particles in atomic and molecular systems. In 2010, he received his department's Excellence in Undergraduate Physics Teaching award. He has also developed a new graduate course in atomic, molecular and optical physics that enrolls students from multiple departments.

Erin Turner, Distinguished Scholar and associate professor in the Department of Teaching, Learning and Sociocultural Studies, is a mathematics education specialist and has been involved in several programs that integrate research and mentoring. She is currently a principal investigator for "Mathematical Modeling With Cultural and Community Contexts," which is a National Science Foundation-funded project that focuses on the teaching and learning of mathematical modeling in diverse elementary classrooms in Arizona and Washington.


Honors College Outstanding Student Award Recipients

  • Sarah Bosch, student in the College of Science
  • Lindsey Chew, student in the College of Science
  • Ikeotunye "Ike" Chinyere, student in the College of Medicine – Tucson
  • Madison Egan, student in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
  • Tyler Fowler, student in the College of Engineering
  • Elizabeth "Lizzie" Hannah, student in the College of Science
  • Dino Kadich, student in the College of Humanities
  • Katelyn Kennon, student in the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences
  • Anthony McGee, student in the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences
  • Idrian Mollaneda, student in the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences 

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